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Flames Avenge Mid-season Loss To Spartans, Advance to Sectional Final

There are few things as sweet as knocking out a rival in the playoffs. Add in avenging a regular season loss, and it becomes even sweeter.

The No. 3 Williamsville East Flames got revenge on rival Williamsville North by defeating the No. 2 Spartans 13-5 in the Section VI Class B semi-finals on Thursday night at North.

It didn’t take long for the Flames to get going.

Two goals by senior Ryan Mitchell followed up by a third from senior Clayton Osborne saw East swiftly take a 3-0 lead just under three minutes into the game.

In that same span, the Spartans were held to no time of possession, all thanks to the fantastic face off work of senior Dylan Schihl. His face offs were crucial not just in the first quarter, but throughout the rest of the contest.

“[Schihl] works extremely hard at his craft, he teaches others with that craft, and he takes great pride in it,” said East head coach Ed Greenway. “I’m very proud of how they won, did what we practiced this whole week in preparation, and wanted to get back to the sectional finals. We’ve got some unfinished business.”

Despite the strong start for the Flames, North did not quit.

The Spartans came roaring back, and a Jaden Rynkewicz goal knotted things at four apiece with 5:51 left in the first half.

Sticking with the theme of runs, however, East answered back, and in a big way.

After Rynkewicz tied the game, the Flames went on to score nine unanswered goals, holding the Spartans scoreless for over 22 continuous minutes. Their 6-4 halftime lead grew to 13-4 early in the fourth quarter, which all but secured their spot in the finals.

The onslaught saw Osborne tally three of the nine goals, leaving his total at four on the day to lead his team.

“We knew that if we just came and played our game we’d beat them, and we did. It feels great,” said Osborne. “We dominated in net, dominated at the face off X. I think we dominated every position today.”

While the offense flourished, so did the defense.

The East defenders gave up hardly any North scoring chances in the third quarter, and the few dangerous shots on net the Spartans did manage were turned away by junior goaltender Joe Amici.

“[The key] was just keeping my head. I wasn’t getting too high, wasn’t getting too low when I let one in. I was staying calm and tracking the ball,” said Amici.

After charging back in the second quarter and starting to play their game, it appeared as if the Spartans were ready to fight tooth and nail to the finish. Their second half performance, though, lacked the quickness and energy that worked so well in quarter two.

“What was working for us in the second quarter was we were pushing the ball in transition. When we play fast and we have fun, we start doing well,” said North coach Andrew Behm. “[East] was great tonight, I give them all the credit in the world. They outplayed us.”

Next up for the Flames is a matchup in the Class B sectional championship with No. 1 seeded Hamburg. The two sides met twice this year with the Bulldogs coming out on top in both games, 9-2 and 9-8.

“We know we were close the other day with Hamburg. We know we can compete with them. Now, it’s just a matter of let’s get a little bit better than that last game, and take a sectional title back,” said Greenway. “I think it’s always hard to beat a team three times … we’ll be ready.”

The Class B sectional final will take place at 6 p.m. on May 29 at Williamsville East.

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